Kristaps Porzingis takes a shot during a matchup with the Hornets in Charlotte

Keys to the Game: Hornets 121, Celtics 118 (OT)

Marc D'Amico
Team Reporter and Analyst

Key Moment

The Celtics played with fire and got burned Monday night in Charlotte.

They had a chance to ice the game at the free-throw line with 10.7 seconds left in regulation but failed to do so. They had a chance to tie the game at the free-throw line with 5.2 seconds left in overtime but failed to do so.

Give any team, even a 3-9 team like the Hornets, that many chances, and the opponent is bound to capitalize. That’s what Charlotte did by taking home a 121-118 overtime win.

Jrue Holiday went to the line with 10.7 seconds left in regulation as the Celtics led by two. One make would’ve forced Charlotte into a 3-point attempt on its next possession. Two makes would have almost certainly sealed the game.

Unfortunately, Holiday came up empty on both attempts.

Seconds later, following a timeout, LaMelo Ball sent the game to overtime by putting home a driving layup with 7.2 seconds left. Boston failed to score on the final possession to regulation.

Late in the extra session, with Boston trailing by three, Jayson Tatum was fouled on a 3-point attempt with 5.2 seconds left. He needed to make all three attempts to potentially force another overtime. He calmly made the first. Then he made the second. The third, however, rimmed out.

Charlotte grabbed the rebound and then did what Boston couldn’t do – it iced the game at the free-throw line when Gordon Hayward dropped two freebies through the net with 0.8 seconds left to seal a three-point win.

Key Player

Without the services of both Derrick White and Al Horford, the Celtics needed Payton Pritchard to step up Monday night in Charlotte. Without a strong performance from the reserve guard, Boston would have had a tough time keeping up with the Hornets on the second night of a back-to-back.

Pritchard delivered on his team’s need by scoring a season-high 21 points off the bench on 8-for-14 shooting. He also connected on five of his eight 3-pointers on the night.

On top of the scoring, the speedy and skilled guard also tallied six rebounds, three assists and two steals on the night during 33 minutes of action. Those two steals tied four other players for the game’s top mark.

Boston outscored Charlotte by 18 points while Pritchard was on the floor.

Box Score Nuggets

  • Jayson Tatum scored a game-high and season-high 45 points and also led the team with 13 rebounds and six assists.
  • LaMelo Ball led Charlotte with 38 points and led the game with eight assists.
  • Boston shot just 18-for-28 (64.3 percent) from the free-throw line.
  • Payton Pritchard led all reserves with 21 points.
  • Charlotte scored 15 points off of Boston's 15 turnovers.
  • Mark Williams led the game with 16 rebounds, while Miles Bridges grabbed 15.
  • Kristaps Porzingis blocked three shots, giving him nine blocks in a span of 24 hours.
  • All of Boston's starters finished with a negative plus/minus rating, while all four of its reserves finished with a positive plus/minus rating.
  • Both teams scored 20 second-chance points.
  • Boston scored 65 first-half points, but just 43 second-half points.

Quote of the Night

“There's little things that go into keeping leads in this league. There's only so many possessions. You can't take plays off. And I thought we just gave up transition (scoring). We gave up offensive rebounds."

– Joe Mazzulla on what led to the defeat